Established by Nitijela (Legislature of the Marshall Islands) in 2017, the core mandate of the National Nuclear Commission (NNC) is to develop a national strategy for nuclear justice. The NNC helps to connect relevant stakeholders, including the Marshallese government, US government, US and Marshallese non-profits, educational institutions, and community advocates. The NNC is also responsible for coordinating activities of journalists, researchers, and filmmakers seeking information on the Republic of the Marshall Island’s (RMI) nuclear testing legacy. The NNC also engages in awareness and education activities both inside and outside the RMI. Some of this work is carried out through internship programs with the NNC as well as through collaboration with the College of the Marshall Islands Nuclear Institute and national nuclear NGOs.
The NNC submitted a Strategy for Nuclear Justice to the President and Cabinet in August 2019 and it was adopted in early September 2019. The Strategy lays out a set of goals, objectives, and actions to address outstanding nuclear testing issues in the RMI. The actions identified in the Strategy represent the first round of priority obligations identified through wide stakeholder consultation, and cover FY20-FY23 with a provision for annual review. The Strategy is a tool for Marshallese to use in supporting efforts toward nuclear justice, and a resource for friends and supporters of the RMI to understand how they can support the RMI’s nuclear justice efforts.
The five main pillars of the strategy are:
Health Care: improving access to cancer care, both in the Marshall Islands and for Marshallese who have migrated away from their home islands.
Environment: Conducting ongoing research and analysis of the environmental impacts of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands to best address the needs and concerns of the population.
National Capacity: Build the capacity of the Marshall Islands government and other advocates to monitor, understand, and address challenges arising from nuclear testing impacts.
Education and Awareness: Increasing awareness in the Marshall Islands of the country’s nuclear legacy, particularly among younger generations.
Compensation: seeking full payment of the awards for property damage and personal injury, as ordered by the Marshall Islands Nuclear Claims Tribunal.
The full Strategy for Nuclear Justice can be accessed here: http://marshallislands-news.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/National-Nuclear-Commission-Strategy.pdf
OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATION
The Strategy for Nuclear Justice sets a clear direction of activities that friends and allies of the Marshallese are welcomed to support. Some of the highest priority areas for collaboration include:
Identifying and recruiting scientists to serve on a volunteer, independent Science Advisory Panel, to assist in data collection and analysis.
While the Marshall Islands does not wish to hire outside lobbyists, US non-profits and think-tanks can support their advocacy by helping to educate members of Congress and congressional staff on relevant issues.
Working with Marshallese non-profits and educational institutions to create fact-sheets and other educational materials that could be used to raise awareness in the US.
Encouraging US non-profit membership to engage in grassroots efforts to support Marshallese advocacy in the US government.